Fitsters, I ran my first official 5k this past weekend at Brooklyn’s Wanderlust Festival! Hooray! I am ecstatic and proud and I want to tell you that I’ve come a long way and it’s a huge deal for me. Get ready for a lengthy post!

As I mentioned in a previous entry, running is not really my thing. I’ve always hated (yes, strong word indeed) the feeling of running out of air, my lungs doing overtime, huffing and puffing, and the ache with each strenuous stride that came with running, not to mention the mental beat-down I suffer in the process.

It all started in middle school…

I can explicitly recall gym classes where we were required to do miles, every time. Gym was fun to most of my friends and peers, but it was torture for me. I didn’t know it was because I was out of shape (I was a scrawny little girl), I just thought the teacher was out to get me. I never found the joy in running. This mentality carried on for years after. I think this actually affected me in all aspects of fitness. I stayed away from all sports and physical activities as much as I could throughout my high school and college days.

Fast forward to post-grad, life in the real world. Working a desk job does something to your body. It’s harmful for your posture and definitely a wreck to your overall health. So I took up yoga and eventually that lead me to bootcamp, kickboxing, weight training, etc. I did a complete 180 in terms of exercising. Yet, I still stayed away from running more than 20 minutes at a time.

You all know how much I love yoga. And it was because of yoga, that I found my liking for running! (Thank you, Yoga Gods!) I signed up for Wanderlust 108 back in March because it’s a yoga festival and I love that it’s advertised as a “mindful triathlon.” It included a 5k run, meditation, and yoga. So obviously I had to start training for this 5k right? (I swear the thought itself made my stomach churn.)


So here’s what I learned through my training:

1. Get a running buddy
I managed to put off my training for the first two months after signing up, but I realize that if I don’t start, I’ll never make it. You can never get better at something if you don’t practice. I couldn’t have done it without my running buddy Nicole. (Always good to train with someone who’s a seasoned runner that can pace you.) She kept my pace and we did intervals of running for 15 minutes and walking 1 minute.

2. Buy good running shoes
It’s scary how so many runners suffer from injuries. My knees would hurt during some of my runs and I’m told that it’s most likely due to my shoes. Stores like Nike and Asics can help assess your form and arch and recommend the type of running shoe that’s best suited for you!

3. Track your runs
I love using the Nike Plus app to track my runs. It heightens my sense of accomplishment when I can see the work I put in and the progress I’m making week after week.

4. Keep a positive mind
When things get tough, it’s common for the little voice in your head to start telling you all the reasons why you can’t do it. (All the images from middle school flashing across my mind.) I had to build up my inner strength and crush that voice, I had to tell myself repeatedly that “I can do this” and “It’s almost done!” Make up affirmations and repeat them to yourself when you’re in a difficult part of your run! I think it’s helped me through my tough moments.

5. Just try to enjoy the moment
So I discovered that I enjoy my runs a lot more when I’m running outdoors where I can be one with nature (the yogi in me). The scenic views distracts me from my mind telling me that I can’t do this. So no more treadmill running for me! I even felt my very first “runner’s high” during one of my training days!

Keep in mind that you shouldn’t be running every day, but do be consistent and run at least once a week.

This is my first official 5k and definitely won’t be my last. I finished at 30:30 so there’s a lot of room to improve in terms of my speed. I’m already looking into a few more 5ks and maybe even a 10k next year!

Do you have any running tips to offer? Leave them in the comments!

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